Accessibility exhibition: student work at The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
Published on 10.03.22
Huge thanks to Darren Williams for showing me around the ‘Accessibility’ exhibition at The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford on Tuesday. Context The exhibition was a response to a live brief, set by The Courtyard. Around 83 Level 3 students studying on the Extended diploma in Art, Design and Communication were asked to develop artworks that were
Huge thanks to Darren Williams for showing me around the ‘Accessibility’ exhibition at The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford on Tuesday.
The exhibition was a response to a live brief, set by The Courtyard. Around 83 Level 3 students studying on the Extended diploma in Art, Design and Communication were asked to develop artworks that were accessible, innovative, interactive, and sensitive to the needs of a broad and diverse audience. Hereford College of Arts tutors gave students a subtitle to work with; ‘Of the body, from the body, for the body,’ which supported the students in opening out the brief and located it within the curriculum.
Darren was keen to point out the value of life projects and collaborations:
It gives them [students] real-world experience, and it lets them put this on their CV… and it consolidates their artwork beyond the college – they see their work in a space beyond the college. Also, they hone their technical skills.
Research and employability skills
Live briefs start with robust research practice, and Darren praised the research undertaken by the students at the start of the project. He also praised their resilience. At the start of any live brief, it is explained to students that not all work will be chosen to be on display and why this is.
It is important that it [student work] is selected by the Courtyard, not by the tutors. It is a great lift to be represented in the exhibition. In the affordable arts fair [a previous project], everyone is represented, so all students get a change to display their work externally
Supporting the values and ethos of The Courtyard
Darren and I knew that the exhibition had supported the teaching and learning of our students, and our organisations capacity for creative collaboration, but we wanted to know how we had supported The Courtyard.
David Durrant, Creative Director of The Courtyard theatre spoke to us about the importance of inclusion as embedded within the ethos of The Courtyard, including how it meets new audiences and is a building which is open to everyone. David spoke of the importance of aligning ideas and practice – the importance of process as well as finished product.
Speaking of the exhibition, David was extremely positive, telling us that:
It brings a greater sense of awareness of what it might be to live with a disability or to have accessibility needs but it also shows that we can be creative in how we approach our understanding of this – it shows we are inclusive in not only our artwork, but our practices.
Feedback from the exhibition has been unanimously positive.